Although the federal health overhaul is not very popular, Dayton embraced it in his last State of the State speech for he faces voters:
"A better Minnesota also means a healthier Minnesota. We can take satisfaction in our national ranking as the third healthiest state. And the Commonwealth Fund has just announced that Minnesota ranks as the best state in the country for health system performance, which includes health care access, quality, costs, and outcomes.
I am especially proud that we’ve expanded access to affordable, high-quality health care, while at the same time reducing state health care costs. The Department of Human Services has saved taxpayers over $1 Billion through more competitive contracts for our state health care programs.
Among the states, we have the fifth lowest percentage of citizens without health insurance coverage. 8 percent of our residents are uninsured, compared to the national average of 14.8 percent.
And our state’s entire health care network deserves credit for enabling MNsure to offer
the lowest insurance rates of any Health Exchange.
These low rates have helped MNsure enroll over 206,000 Minnesotans in affordable health coverage — many for the first time. MNsure didn’t start well, but it’s gotten better, and it will
keep on improving.
It’s also important to remember that the federal Affordable Care Act
provides all Minnesotans with some very important protections, whether they obtain their insurance through MNsure or not. No one can be denied coverage, because of pre-existing conditions. There can be no lifetime limit on a person’s health care needs.
Young adults are covered under their parents’ health insurance plans until the age of 26. Certain screenings for cancer and other preventative procedures are free."
In his speech, Dayton gave notable praise for education policies passed under the Republican-controlled Legislature: " The 2011 legislature also passed an Alternative Pathway for Teacher Licensure and a “Read Well by Third Grade” literacy initiative. It enacted comprehensive teacher and principal evaluations. Principal evaluations began last fall, and teacher evaluations will start state-wide this September. "